This week I wrote a letter to newly confirmed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on the importance of state and federal agencies working together to safely and responsibly resolve the contamination issue in Hoosick Falls. Read the text below:
Dear Administrator Pruitt:
I would like to offer my congratulations on your confirmation as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Over the next several years, I look forward to working with you on many important issues, including one in the 19th Congressional District in New York that is currently under review by the EPA.
On September 9, 2016, the EPA proposed to add the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Site, 14 McCaffrey Street, Hoosick Falls (“McCaffrey Street site”) to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). A year earlier, in November 2015, the EPA had advised the Village that Hoosick Falls municipal water should not be used for drinking and cooking and recommended that alternate water be provided for users of municipal water. The EPA’s action came after water quality tests revealed that the municipal water contained perfluorooctaonic acid (PFOA) levels far in excess of recommended levels.
When the EPA advised the Village to stop using the water for drinking and cooking in 2015, water tests indicated that the municipal water contained PFOA levels above 600 parts per trillion (ppt). At that time, the EPA had established a provisional health advisory level for PFOA of 400 ppt for short-term exposure. In 2016, the EPA established a long-term exposure guideline for PFOA in drinking water of 70 ppt.
The Village of Hoosick Falls is a small community of 3,600 residents. When local residents raised concerns about water quality to their local officials, those officials took necessary steps to raise these concerns with appropriate state and federal officials. Unfortunately, officials were slow to appropriately address the Village’s concerns. Only after the EPA made its recommendation in 2015 did the appropriate state and federal agencies begin to address the Village’s needs.
It is my understanding that the McCaffrey Street site meets the necessary requirements to be designated on the NPL and that such designation could occur as soon as March 2017. The local residents support placing the McCaffrey Street site on the NPL and I write to offer my support for such a designation. Even after designation, however, it is imperative that state and federal agencies, including the EPA, work together with local officials and residents to ensure the contamination is remediated and that citizens’ health and safety is protected.
Again, congratulations on your nomination and confirmation. I look forward to working with you on this issue as well as many others. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you believe I can be of assistance.
John J. Faso
Member of Congress
19th District of New York